Are job interview ‘thank-you notes’ overrated?

When your company is hiring, and seeing many different candidates for one position, it’s natural to look for tell-tale signs that a person has gone above and beyond the norm preparing for the interview. Unfortunately, some practices that can help portray a person as thoughtful and considerate in the right light come across as perfunctory when handled the wrong way.

Consider the post-interview thank-you note: if it comes from a place of sincerity, hiring managers can use it as a sign that the candidate really does care about the position and making a good impression. At the same time, a simple note that doesn’t seem genuine won’t carry the same amount of weight and could just be an automatic afterthought.

In an article for Fast Company on overrated job candidate habits, leadership expert Stacey Hawley advises applicants to make this note specific. These are far more memorable and distinctive, and the hiring manager can later acknowledge the individuals that took this extra step.

“Think about the conversation, and write something both personal and business-related,” Hawley said. “Tell them how much you appreciated discussing a certain business topic, then thank them for sharing their insights about something personal.”

The Kansas City Star recently interviewed Janis Kliethermes, the owner of a local etiquette center, about this practice. Kliethermes said that only one out of 100 applicants for one job took the trouble to write and send a note.

While this is certainly just one part of the post-interview process, it helps to monitor which candidates have been this thoughtful, as it could be enough to make one person stand out. HR software is a useful tool for simplifying the job search and making application organization more coordinated.

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